I am not musically gifted. Even though I went to music school for about 5 years every other afternoon, I suck at it big time.
In the end, they (politely) kicked me out.
My sister, on the other hand, turned out to be pretty good at music. In fact, she became a fantastic professional violinist using all sorts of devices (e.g. electric violin) to create electronic music.
And one day, she asked me if I’d help her to build her website.
I said yes, and started researching the best website builders for musicians and what my little sister’s website needed to be a success.
In this article I’ll be sharing all these learnings with you, so you too will know how to create a website for your music or band.
Table of Contents
What Are the Best Website Builders for Musicians?
There are dozens (perhaps even hundreds) of website builders out there. But what are the best ones for musicians, bands, DJs or even gig organizers? This is my short list:
Do I Even Need a Website?
If you are reading this guide, you probably already have a couple of reasons to launch your own website. But let me mention a couple more in case you need a little more convincing:
- Create an image: Having your own website will let you create your own image and brand the way you want it. Sure, you can create Facebook and SoundCloud pages, but those will be limited to what these platforms allow.
- More exposure: Over 55% of the world’s population has internet access. Maybe not all of them will find your music because of your site, but I am not saying they won’t.
- Promote your upcoming gigs: One of the easiest (and quickest) ways to let your fans know where are you going to play next.
- Book some gigs: Having a website is a great way for potential event organizers to contact you and get you to play for them.
- Build a community: You probably have social media profiles on different channels (Instagram, SoundCloud, etc.). Having your own website is a great tool to convert all these followers into a loyal audience.
- Generate extra-cash: Sell t-shirts for your upcoming tour, mugs with the lyrics of your greatest hits, or even your music online. Even Nirvana or The Beatles continue to sell their merch online.
Example… Create a band website like a rockstar: from U2 to U3
From picking a template to creating pages and adding media right through to going live. You also may want functionality like an event calendar or a polling widget on your site.
I am, of course, in no way encouraging you to knock off other people’s (or famous rock bands’) websites, but merely to practice recreating a website you admire. You can then replace the elements with your own ideas.
This has two benefits: just the act of ‘doing’ will get you thinking creatively, and it may also expose you to different ways of using elements in creating your own website.
Top 6 Site Builders for Musicians
You don’t need to be U2 to benefit from having a web presence for your band. It’s one of the most effective ways to make your music available to your current (and future) fans. But since your main occupation keeps you pretty busy, you’ll need a system that is quick and easy-to-update.
Wix Music – your band’s “all-in-one package”
Wix is, by far, the largest website builder on the market. It’s a true giant with 150 million users and almost 3,000 employees. Their approach to design is unique, as not many website builders come with such a flexible approach (as you can see in the previous video on U3).
The best thing for bands and musicians is that Wix Music allows you to promote and sell music effortlessly, selling gig tickets and merch is possible too. It also has integration with many music stores and streaming services (e.g. Spotify, iTunes, etc.).
While they feature a completely free plan, you’ll have to pay around $14 per month if you want an ad-free experience.
What I like about Wix: As far as I know, no other website builder has as many templates (over 500). They have plenty of features (e.g. membership sites), and even a packed App Market with hundreds of additional apps to add to your site (e.g. a Spotify player). I find their backup and restore function useful – quite handy if you delete content by mistake.
What they could improve: It’d be cool if you could switch your template to a different one without losing your content. Your site’s design for smartphones may need some extra work to make it look the way you want to. The lower plans come with storage and bandwidth limitations, meaning you’d need to upgrade to a higher plan if you go over those, which should be enough for most sites.
Free trial at www.wix.com
Bandzoogle – The music expert
This website builder was founded in Canada in 2003. Today they have over 20 employees and host several thousand websites. What’s unique about them is that they are solely focused on website creation for bands and musicians.
It comes with modern-looking responsive designs – they’ll look good on any device – and although their range of features isn’t the largest, they have all the ones musicians, DJs and bands will need.
What I like about Bandzoogle: You can upload your tracks, sell your music online and even embed your Bandcamp player, Instagram feed or Bandsintown events. Selling tickets for events (e.g. concerts) is also possible. A free domain name is included with all their plans. They don’t limit the traffic your site can get (bandwidth).
What they could improve: I have to say that their editor isn’t the most flexible as it works with predefined layouts (e.g. 1 column, 2 columns, etc.). I also don’t find their back end the most intuitive, but after using it for a couple of hours you should be OK. Unless you go with the most expensive plan, you’ll be limited on the pages, songs and pictures you can upload.
Unlike Wix or Weebly, they don’t offer a free plan, but you can try their system for free for 30 days – more than long enough to see if you like it. Paid plans start at around $8 per month.
Free trial at www.bandzoogle.com
Founded in 2003, this NY-based company employs around 1000 people and ‘Millions of websites’ have been launched using their platform. Like Wix, Squarespace are famous for their bold and creative marketing campaigns (e.g. Super Bowl Commercials).
Similar to Bandzoogle and Wix, it has a built-in system to upload your songs and even sell them online – it’s also possible to sell tickets. Embedding Spotify playlists (and similar services) can be done using their embed block.
What I like about Squarespace: They have a couple of visually impressive templates for musicians, they are responsive too. All plans have unlimited storage and bandwidth. Comes with some handy features for musicians.
What they could improve: I find their system, at times, a bit overcomplicated. Be aware that their designs rely on professionally taken images, so make sure yours match the high standards to keep with the style. Their prices are a bit high, and some plans have transaction fees – i.e. they take a cut of your sales.
Free trial at www.squarespace.com
Weebly – Great ease of use
Founded in 2007 in San Francisco, Weebly has over 50 million users. They are one of the easiest site builders to use, thanks to its structured approach to website design.
Weebly is another good alternative for creating your band’s website. Their Pro plan ($12 per month) comes with a custom music player. Selling your songs and merch is easy with Weebly’s online store. Weebly’s designs are slick too, however, you won’t be able to copy U2’s site (or any others for that matter) with as much accuracy as in our video example.
What I like about Weebly: Their system is easy to use. In my opinion, no other site builder is as intuitive. They come with responsive templates that adapt to any device (e.g. smartphones). Most of their plans come with unlimited storage and bandwidth – upload as many songs as you wish.
What they could improve: Some plans will get a cut of your sales (3%) and limit the amount of products you can sell. It doesn’t have music or band-focused templates, and no special features for musicians (e.g. built-in integration with Spotify).
Format – Limited but cheap
Format.com is based in Toronto, and with ‘only’ 30 employees they are one of the smaller fish on the market. However, they’ve been able to find their niche, they are focused on online portfolio creation.
Having a focus on artists and portfolio creation means it’s only normal that they have cool-looking designs. Be aware that they are a good solution for creating a music portfolio, but they don’t have advanced features for musicians (e.g. iTunes integration or apps to organize events).
What I like about Format: Their modern-looking templates, which are also responsive, are an interesting plus for them. Their paid plans are affordable.
What they could improve: It has limited design flexibility as their building blocks have pre-set layouts. Sadly, they don’t have many elements; you are stuck with images, text, forms and a few more. You won’t be able to upload your music directly into Format – you’ll need to embed your tracks from a 3rd-party service (e.g. SoundCloud).
Free trial: www.format.com (Get 10% off using voucher code START10)
WordPress – The geeky solution
WordPress first started as a blogging platform, but soon enough evolved into a multi-purpose CMS. For some, it has become the go-to solution for creating any type of website – it powers around 60% of all sites.
Although WordPres isn’t a website builder itself, I’ve added it to this list because it’s a very popular platform, and a great solution for the more tech-savvy.
When you first install WordPress you won’t see any relevant feature for musicians. But there are thousands of templates (e.g. in Themeforest) and plugins that can convert your WordPress installation into a fully-armed site for your band or music.
WordPress.org is a bit different from the rest, you’ll need a hosting provider (e.g SiteGround) for it to run. It’s also a bit more technical, so expect some house-keeping work more often than not (e.g. manual updates).
Note: I created my sister’s website using WordPress as I already had a hosting provider and some WordPress knowledge. But every time she needs to update something, I get an upset call from her telling me it’s too difficult.
How to Get Traffic to Your Website?
Sure, having a website is a great start to getting your music out there. However, there’re a couple of other techniques to promote your music online and get more listeners:
- Online contest: There are a bunch of online music contests that you can participate in. Most of the time they promote the bands that take part in them on their social media channels, website blog, or paid ads.
- Outreach: The concept is easy, find someone with a big following in your music-niche (e.g. influencers, bloggers, playlist creators, etc.) and let them know about your music. The goal is that they share your music with their followers.
- Social media: Having (relevant) social media profiles is a handy way to engage with users and convert them into loyal listeners. On top of the big fish (e.g. Instagram, Twitter or Facebook), there are some other interesting channels. You could explore Reddit (/r/Music), Bandsintown or Last.fm, for example.
- Streaming services: There are some services that allow you to upload your music online so others can enjoy it. These have millions of users, so you could potentially reach a broader audience soon. Some of these streaming services are Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, YouTube, SoundCloud, Bandcamp or Pandora.
- Online paid ads: Most of the previously mentioned sites/platforms let you run ads. If you had the budget for it, paid ad campaigns are a quick way to find new listeners that like your music.
- SEO: If you optimize your website to show in search results for relevant keywords (e.g. ’new age music artists’), you can have a steady flow of new listeners every week.
- Content marketing: Create pieces of content that complement your songs, so your audience is more likely to share them. For example, creating cool-looking music videos or animations. If you are a creative DIY person you won’t necessarily need a budget for this.
What Pages Will Your Music Site Need?
But, of course, you may be a bit lost with your site’s structure. What section will you need? What pages should you add?
Let me go over the most relevant pages that music and band websites include.
- Homepage: Every website has a homepage – band and musicians’ websites too. How you want to organize it is a bit personal, some have information about their next gigs, others have videos of past performances, etc. Your choice.
- Tour and events: Of course you want to feature your upcoming shows so your fans know where to see you next. Besides the location, time and date, it’s also important to include information on how to buy the tickets.
- Online store: I am sure some bands make tons of money selling merchandise online. An online store will also let you sell tunes online and even tickets to your upcoming shows.
- About / Bio: Every fan will want to know a bit more about you. So a friendly and fun section explaining how you got started and where are you heading, is a great plus.
- Gallery and videos: Some musicians and bands like to share images and videos of past performances so visitors can see what to expect from their live concerts.
- Songs and albums: Of course, you probably want to showcase your music. You could, for example, let your visitors listen to your last album by embedding Spotify’s player.
- Contact: If you don’t like the idea of having your email address published on your site, you could create a contact form so your site’s visitors have a way to reach you.
Of course, there aren’t fixed rules on what pages you should include. The previous ones are the most popular site pages among musicians and bands. But, perhaps you’d like to share your thoughts with a blog or have a press section.
Final Thoughts About the Website Builders for Musicians
As we’ve seen, there’s not a shortage of solutions when it comes to creating band sites. Some of them are easier to use than others, but with a bit of work, you should be able to launch your music site in a couple of afternoons.
Let me recap and tell you when I would use each provider:
- If you are after ease of use, I would say that Weebly or Wix are the best choices.
- The best music-focused solutions (e.g. selling tickets) are provided by Wix, Squarespace and Bandzoogle.
- Wix and Weebly also offer the most generous free plan.
- Personally, I find the Squarespace and Wix’s designs the coolest.
I hope you find this guide to music website creation useful. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help you.